Mike Wolfe warmly recalls the days when he and his son Blake would play tag-team golf on a course in Anderson, Indiana.
Mike would drive about 220 yards off the tee and elementary-school Blake would play it in from there. They’d laugh, chat and enjoy the day.
Today, those roles are reversed — as they would be for almost any golfer in central Illinois teaming with Blake, who can now rip a tee shot 350 yards. So now it’s Blake who drives the ball in their father-son excursions while Mike plays it into the green.
“It’s just fun to watch him play,” Mike said. “I’ve always enjoyed that — just watching him hit a golf ball.”
But Blake has proven the past several seasons that he is more than a beast off the tee. And that’s why Lincoln Trail College signed him to a national letter-of-intent on Tuesday evening at Charleston High School to play golf at the Robinson-based school next fall.
Wolfe, who played on Charleston’s back-to-back state champion teams, shined even more this past season when he won the IHSA Class 2A regional title at Mattoon Country Club and he later helped the Trojans reach the state golf tournament for yet another year.
Wolfe averaged 78 strokes per 18 holes this past season, shot 1-over-par in the Apollo Conference tournament, matched that score at the Paris Invitational and went 2-under-par for a nine-hole event at Charleston Country Club.
“We wanted someone who played high school golf at the highest level,” said Lincoln Trails assistant golf coach Jay Prindable, “which Charleston has done the past several years. Blake’s scores really stood out. What impressed us the most? His scorecards.”
Charleston High coach Scott Dow said Wolfe’s wedge play has improved a great deal the past few years. “He is really strong from 40 to 80 yards in,” Dow said, “which, as far as he hits it, he’s in that situation a lot.”
Blake, a golf history buff, said he chose Lincoln Trails College in part because of its home 6,600-yard Quail Creek course that once hosted the PGA’s Robinson Open from 1968-73, featuring players like Lee Trevino, Hale Irwin and Lee Elder. Said Blake: “I fell in love with the golf course.”
Mike Wolfe says it might have been inevitable that Blake would be a college golfer. After all, Blake’s grandfather Bill Morgan is a two-time Southern Illinois Coach of the Year at Salem High School, which won 15 conference and seven regional titles in his 22-year golf coaching career. And Mike’s dad, Gene Wolfe, played on Indiana state high school golf champion teams in the early 1950s before competing for Ball State.
“He was always bound and determined to play golf,” Mike said.